Carlin was an amazingly gifted and energetic person and leader. He was a Briercrest graduate of 1962 and indeed no class ever had more creative class programs than the ones Carlin was in. I was a high school student at Caronport and remember their programs to this day. He completed studies at Briercrest and then went to Columbia Bible College in the US to obtain a degree as we were not yet accredited at that time.
Carlin and Marcia then entered active church ministry which he deeply loved. He was invited to come to serve on faculty at Briercrest starting the fall of 1969. He actually lived next to where I lived as I had started the same year but several months earlier. I was not yet married and had a roommate and Carlin would often stop in to chat. He was always so entertaining and fun to chat with.
At Briercrest Carlin taught pastoral ministries and preaching. During this time it is said that we had lead pastors in every denomination – in particular we had senior pastors in most of the Mennonite brethren churches across Canada especially in western Canada. Eventually they decided to hire Carlin because they just could not get students to come to their schools so they invited him to be an associate pastor at Willington MB in 1984. In one year he was lead pastor there and the church grew in strength and numbers throughout his tenure of over 20 years.
In his years at Briercrest Carlin started by teaching and excelled at turning out pastors. During his years on faculty he became one of a three-person YQ committee that was not to be held down. That event grew to be by far the largest youth event anywhere in Canada and had that record for many years. YQ was never more energetic or fun than in Carlin’s day. His mind just never stopped pouring out creative additions to the event.
Carlin was also the Christian Service director for a number of years. When Henry Budd became president he selected Carlin to be his vice president for external relations as he was already in the field connecting and preaching in many settings. He was a much loved speaker all across Canada. We never had stronger constituency relations before or since Carlin’s day. He was so gifted. During the journey Marcia battled successfully with and through major surgery and stage four cancer. She recovered and has never had a recurrence. In 1983-84 the Willingdon MB church was in dialogue for him to come as the associate pastor. We were away in Chicago for 8 months that year and he confided and shared his sense that God was calling. They did join the Willingdon team in 1984. Despite that Carlin and Marcia always remained close and deep friends not only of ours but of Briercrest. Through my years as president he joined the board and no one was more supportive. He was the chair of the committee that planned the Board reunion just this past September, a first such for Briercrest. He led that Board event with distinction and then they left for yet another and final missions trip to Thailand.
After he moved west he and Marcia poured themselves into church ministry and it was so evident that they were thriving. Who could have wished them anywhere else? On any visit we could see that they were a beautiful match in the setting and that God had placed them in just the right place. After over 20 years of unmatched ministry they felt farming games farming games ben 10 games puzzle games they should step back and retire from that role to ensure smooth transition. They then poured their lives into Mennonite Brethren Missions. He and Marcia did their final missions tour and trip late in 2013. He was still full of energy and passion throughout that tour to Thailand.
What loving servants of Jesus Carlin and Marcia were throughout their days. Both were marked by grace and truth. On March 10 Carlin received the cancer diagnosis as stage four stomach cancer and the attempts at treatment could just not keep pace with the unfortunate progress of the cancer in his body. He spent his last days at home with his dearly loved wife Marcia, who walked through the valley with him. She was with him when he departed to meet Jesus on April 19 at 7 am Vancouver time.
What a life he lived for Jesus. There will be very large numbers of people one day in the presence of Jesus because Carlin served as and where he did. He was a genuine partner with his wife Marcia and with God who invited them into the partnership of the Gospel with Himself. They both emanated the glory of God as they lived their lives with and for Him, as referenced in II Corinthians 3:12-18. He slipped away between Good Friday and Easter and has experienced his own resurrection in the presence of Jesus. In my last conversation with Carlin it just felt like I was on holy ground even on the telephone. I know this does not do justice to a life so well lived but here is my attempt a quick summary.
Respectfully and prayerfully,